The Crippling Fear of Creation

When I was an illustrator, every single time I sat down at the drawing table, I was overcome with the crippling fear that I’d forgotten everything–how to build a figure, how to put down a line, how to turn a blank piece of paper into a finished piece. Every. Single. Time.

I know this is not uncommon.Now that I’ve pivoted to writing, it’s the same thing. Whenever I begin something new, there is that voice in my head that pushes against all my past work, all my confidence, and says, “The words will not flow.”

It’s terrifying, but I push past it.

And it’s never true. The words are always there if I but put the fingers on the keyboard and begin. You’d think, after all this time–after 30+ years of actively making art of one kind or another–this would not keep happening. But, it does.

At some point I guess you either accept the fear as part of the process or you let it cripple you. It makes me wonder what function that universal, personal terror actually has. Is there a misunderstood friction necessary for creation within it, or is it an essential anti-force without which our tenacity and determination to create would wither?

I dunno. I just keep going.

2 thoughts on “The Crippling Fear of Creation

  1. Love this, Brock!!! I have crippling fear everyday as I wonder what in the world and I going to come up with and is it going to be helpful or worthwhile. And that fear on good days makes me go to Him. But I also loved what you said next and I read it late last night so don’t exactly remember but it was about that fear stimulating the drive in us, the tenaciousness to push through. I had no idea you experienced this, after years of amazing work. I thought I did cause I am not a real writer. Yeah. A fake one 😅. Just love reading your thoughts and this one is helpful to know that fear is normal and to consider the purpose. Thanks for sharing.

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. I think Michael j.Fox had an interesting observation. He said that as an actor, when you’re joining a film set, it’s a lot like taking your canoe to the edge of the river. You put in and go where everybody else is going.

    But when you’re a writer, it’s much more like taking your canoed to the edge of the lake. Which way do you go?

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